Moose, leading the charge to the next snack break

a dog leans against his owner
KattiJo Deeter pets her sled dog Moose at the Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday. (Ben Matheson/Alaska Public Media)

For KattiJo Deeter’s lead dog Moose, there is a new race every day. That is, so long as Deeter has planned out a good trailside snack menu. 

“In Moose’s mind, he’s worried that there’s always going to be food available and that if anyone gets there before he does that he’s not going to get the food,” said Deeter. “And I think he really wants to get there first in case there is a snack waiting for him.” 

This year marks 5-year-old Moose’s fourth Iditarod. Deeter said she will be depending on Moose’s leadership skills and attitude to keep the running fun, even in the most challenging miles. 

“He eats, he is happy, and he was the dog who took me into Nome after the storm last year,” she said. “In hard times on the trail I’m going to really lean on him as my leader and my heart dog out there.” 

Deeter’s rookie race ended last year in a raging storm near the Topkok Hills. But both she and Moose are back to make another run to Nome. 

Deeter said Moose’s ability to stay on good terms with the whole team is a major part of what he brings to his position in lead.

“He is not all concerned with the group dynamic,” she said. “He has never been an aggressive or assertive  male. He’s always been a dog that just gets along great with other dogs and doesn’t mind leading the charge down the trail.” 

Moose is part of our “Dog of the Day” series. Each day during the Iditarod, we’ll feature a new dog making the 1,000-mile dash to Nome. Earlier, we met Dusty.

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Ben Matheson is covering the 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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